Photo of Penn Station entrance

In 2017, Amtrak performed major work on the track approaches to New York's Penn Station. For commuters, the required schedule changes, including diversion of weekday Midtown Direct services to Hoboken, amounted to what was popularly called the "Summer from Hell."  This summer, Amtrak's work program at Penn Station will continue, but disruptions will be much less, according to reporting by Patrick McGeehan in the New York Times (April 11). This summer, Amtrak plans to replace sections of Track 19 in the station, a track used only by Long Island Rail Road trains. Some work has been going on since January, and both NJ Transit and the Long Island Rail Road have made schedule changes to accommodate the current work.  LIRR said that its altered schedule will remain in effect through the summer's work, and NJ Transit said that it hadn't yet decided that the altered schedules would continue; the NJT changes affect the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line. But the major diversions of last summer, including trains diverted to Hoboken on the Morris & Essex lines, won't be happening this time around, and other than possibly continuing its current alterations, NJT says no schedule changes are contemplated.

The main effect of this summer's work will be on trains run by Amtrak itself. During the summer, Amtrak plans to rehabilitate the "Empire Connection," a line that connects Penn Station with the rail line to Albany and points west and north of Albany. This connection will be taken out of service for the work, requiring diversion of all Amtrak trains to and from Albany to Grand Central Terminal. It's difficult to service long-distance trains, with their sleeping cars and dining cars, at Grand Central, so for the first time in memory, there will be no direct service from New York to Chicago: passengers will have to travel from Grand Central on coach trains and change at Albany.